Being a niche LDS Bookstore, we haven't had much to draw non latter-day saints into our store, unless they're looking for a gift for their 'Mormon' friend or relative. But more and more during these last few years, we are seeing non LDS people come into our store - because of they're interest in food storage, and emergency preparedness. Evidently we are the 'go-to' people on the subject. I wish I believed that most of us are complying with the counsel we have received all our lives to actually BE the 'go-to' people about food storage. We certainly have plenty of history directing us to do so. .... But that is a subject for another day.
One day, as I was helping a customer with his purchase of THRIVE Freeze Dried foods, he asked me
"Do YOU (meaning you 'mormons') do THIS (meaning store large amounts of food) for the same reason WE (meaning all us non-mormon preppers) do?"
hmmmm, I had to guess at all the reasons non-latterday saints might be on a self reliance kick. "I assume" I answered, "that the reason you 'do' this, is because of the things we read in the newspapers and internet?" He nodded. "Well I have to admit that I certainly am interested in all those same things, but no, that is NOT why we store food and do our best to prepare our families for potential emergencies. We would do it anyway. I have lived like this my entire married life. I was raised with the idea of food storage. We 'do' this because we have been directed to to do it."
The truth is - if there was no external evidence confirming the wisdom of it, we would store food anyway. In fact, for most of our married life, we have endured polite chuckles from our non-member family, and not just a little bit of 'eye-rolling' because of our irrational practise of buying more than we need for the purpose of storing the excess. We have been called 'hoarders', and a few other things. My inclination to be like "Ma" on "Little House on the Prairie" was a source of much amusement to some. And I have to admit, although I never once second guessed our choices, I got tired of the ribbing. We started to keep part of us a little more private. Things like:
- our practise of buying and receiving books as the gift of choice for every occassion for every person in our family.
- that we ground our own flour, and bought wheat by the bushel; that a wheat grinder was the most used appliance in our house.
- I have an herb garden that keeps us in fresh, dried or frozen herbs all year long
- that we have a 250 gallon water tank in our basement
- that we have a wood stove in our family room and every fall collect wood for the winter, even though we live in the city ....
Lets face it, from the perspective of our non-LDS relatives, we were a bit excentric (to say the least).
So. Why DO Mormons store food? Its certainly nothing new. I grew up in a less-active home where the gospel was not taught nor practised, but my parents were both raised in Mormon homes and they brought acceptance of the food storage practise into their marriage. It wasn't a religious thing, it simply made sense. It was in their blood.
“In the day of plenty, prepare for the day of scarcity.” was the “Message of the First Presidency,” in Conference Report, April 1942.
“Learn to sustain yourselves; lay up grain and flour, and save it against a day of scarcity.”President Brigham Young
When I was a young married woman trying to live the gospel by observing how others did it - always from the outside looking in, food storage was a principle I understood and could live with conviction.
“Everyone who owns a home recognizes the need for fire insurance. We hope and pray that there will never be a fire. Nevertheless, we pay for insurance to cover such a catastrophe, should it occur. We ought to do the same with reference to family welfare.”President Gordon B. Hinckley
“Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their … supply of food … and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food-free.”President Thomas S. Monson
“It is within everyone’s grasp,” explains Presiding Bishop Burton "The first step is to begin. The second is to continue. It doesn’t matter how fast we get there so much as that we begin and continue according to our abilities.”
In a Nutshell. The answer to 'WHY?' is a simple one. We are directed to store food and to be self reliant by those we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators, who speak the will of our Heavenly Father. It so happens that to "lay up in store" at the moment is a cool thing to do. In fact there is a whole cult following of the principles of self reliance. They even have a cool nick name - "PREPPERS". Who knew? We were preppers long before it was cool to be one.
I don't know that our non-lds family is still not rolling their eyes at our practices, but I don't care anymore now than I did for all those difficult years when food storage wasn't cool.
- Cindy Suelzle